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Jessica Dubroff This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   All parents who dream about seeing their children on magazine covers take note: On Thursday, April 11th, a seven-year-old California girl named Jessica died in an airplane crash. Was she a victim of the Unabomber? No, this situation is hardly as cut and dry as that. In fact what's so amazing about the seven year old's plane crash is that at the time she was flying the plane!

Accompanied by her father and piloting teacher, Jessica was trying to set a record as the youngest person ever to fly a plane cross-country. Seven years ago the Guinness Book of World Records eliminated this category, so technically she was attempting to break a non-existent record. And now that her fruitless attempt has failed and three lives have been lost, I can't help but wonder if her parents aren't to blame.

I have figure-skated since I was ten and, while I'm not leaving for the Olympics, I still love it. Over the years, I have seen many skaters being pushed toward that Olympic dream. Day after day, hour after hour, these children take lessons and practice, trying to become the best. They jump and the fall and they compete and eventually many of these kids who might have once loved skating grow to despise it. But quitting is not an option - their parents won't allow it.

These figure-skaters are no longer children to their parents - they have become a trophy, a prize to show off. It's the same with gymnastics, child actors, and now flying. Jessica's parents weren't interested in having a daughter - they wanted fame.

Many of these stage parents are living through their children, recapturing the childhood they never had. I've seen parents so pushy that it is borderline child abuse.

While Jessica's death is sad, it is senseless and stupid. A seven-year-old should not have been flying an airplane. Didn't her parents recognize Jessica's life was more important than fame?

Nevertheless, her mother achieved fame. Unfortunately her daughter and husband had to die in order for her to get it. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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